“The skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches, as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found” ~ Miguel de Unamuno
As I have newly begun to assert I am an explorer when it comes to wine and anything associated with the wine-biz. But I am also a devout skeptic of new things. Is that a contrary position? Perhaps, but I do embrace both sides of that coin thoroughly [or at least I like to think so].
That said when I got invited to attend a Vineagogo intro-party at a swanky La Jolla location. I was to say the least skeptical, if not dubious about another start-up wine club [slash] soon to come wine store that will be making a splash upon the San Diego wine scene. Especially seeing a converted 1960 era Milk-Truck [called, Merlot] sitting in the drive way, splashed with the Vineagogo logo and dressed to the nines.
But when the first wine they rolled out was a delicious 2008 Mont Marcal, Brut Rosé produced from 100% Trepat [a new grape to me] which impressed me beyond belief, I thought "wow" these folks got something going on. They put the group on a course that evening for a "Traveler's Guide to the Universe" in wine terms, man I was so glad I had a ticket to ride.
See folks I don't usually, wait almost never like every wine in any line-up. But I truly liked, if not loved every single thing they poured that evening and then asked in my best Oliver Twist like voice, "May I have some more please?". I'm so glad they didn't say no. Because the next four wines I tasted were all rock-stars of flavor and finesse. Proving my point, you can pay more but you won't necessarily get more.
Thinking back about the experience, I came up with three take-aways from the event. One, their selection of wines represent the perfect foodie type vino, which are easy pairing partners and compliment your food, rather than get in the way, Two, all of the wines I tasted that evening were in my mind truly representative of place, terrior driven. Third and probably the most important on most folks mines these days; is that a good deal of their selections represent a great values, with a tasty selection falling just under [or at] the $20 price point.
Vineagogo's Wine Director and Advanced Sommelier Joshua Orr has got it going on, this guy seriously knows his way around a wine bottle. As for the rest of their crew they represent two things in my mind from a consumers perspective; biz- savvy and very customer oriented service [rare these days]. I for one am very happy to introduce you to this new brand, that's already making a big splash on the San Diego wine-scene now and even more so once they open their proposed down-town location at the base of the Pinnacle Marina Tower [stay-tuned].
Now to the wines that were poured that evening and my thoughts on these tasty selections:
1. 2007 Mont Marcal Brut Rosé: This was a meaty rose that really popped with deeply fresh ripe strawberry jam spread on a fresh baked country biscuit. The kind of bubbly that could take on just about any appetizer plate, but still has enough stuffing to wrap itself around a plate of barbecue ribs with little to no effort and sells for $19.
2. 2009 Huber Dry Riesling: This wonderful mineral driven Riesling hails from Traisental, Austria. A nice round mouth feel fills the palate with a subtle waft of white rose, fresh cut peaches and a vein of thirst slaking acidity that will liven up your next trip to the Sushi bar quite nicely and selling for $18.
3. 2009 Kermit Lynch, Cotes du Rhone: A wonderfully well integrated red blend with Grenache fruit leading the way. Wonderful dark plum, dark cherry baked into soft puff pastry. This wine delivers on many levels, super approachable right out of the bottle, polished tannins abound in the rich earthy and leather hammock of yummy comfortableness. Great with nearly any slow roasted or grilled meats. Fantastic QPR on this wine selling for a mere $12, honestly this is case purchase territory folks.
4. 2008 Skouras, St. George, Nemea: If you thought you knew what Greek wine was all about and you're possibly making a face because you're thinking of those pine-resin like wines. Honestly, you could not be more wrong, because I'm pretty sure this wine was the favorite of the evening. This wine had all the characteristics of your fave Pinot Noir, light bodied, plush seductive baking spice, strawberry and cranberry type flavors, polished tannins and balanced acidity. Produced from 100% Agiorgitiko [St. George for short] and also popularly known as the "blood of Hercules". So do you want to drink a great PN tasting wine, without the PN price, than give this wine a swirl. It sells for a mere $14 a real stunner at this price point.
5. 2007 Blackbilly, Shiraz, Mclaren Vale: The name of this wine did make me chuckle just a bit, no not a giggle, like Anderson Cooper was recently caught doing on his 360 show. But go figure, that is Aussie humor for you. I've nearly given up on most Shiraz because too many have been over-oaked fruit bombs. But what you have in this wine is far different, subtle American oak, giving those baked vanilla spices, a few freshly chewed Eucalyptus leaves, light notes of blackberry jam, spread across a freshly toasted slice of bread on-board nicely polished tannins. This wine is very nuanced and so ready to take on many different food pairing duties, but I think you if you'd match it up with a slab of baby back ribs and some roasted root vegetables you would be a very happy camper. This wines sells for an even $20.
As you can see I was very happy with all the wines I sampled that evening, like I mentioned before I'm a skeptic and explorer. The wines poured that evening were part of a intro party I and other bloggers were invited to attend and there was no charge for admission. That said, I hope you will give these [drink now and drink often] wines a swirl for yourself and give the folks at Vineagogo a swirl as well. The wines poured that evening were fantastic at the price point offered and deserve a place in your own cellar, pantry or where ever you short-term cellar your wine. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and impressions, until next time sip long and prosper, cheers!